Democracy is a verb.


Elections In Action

Through hands-on campaign work and interactions with political figures, we see young people lose their cynicism about politics and become active, informed citizens.

Campaign Program

Our campaign program provides authentic and direct political participation experience to young people even before they reach voting age. Through phone banking, door knocking, registering voters, and blogging, students learn to critically analyze issues, build their communications skills, and learn the nuts and bolts of campaigning.

Each election season begins with a campaign kick-off event and a candidate forum where students have the opportunity to meet the candidates and ask questions about their top issues facing youth. For many, this program is the first step toward a lifetime of civic commitment. It transforms young people’s attitudes toward the political process and supports their understanding of campaign work and electoral politics.

Student Judge Program

The Chicago Board of Elections and Mikva Challenge have teamed up to provide one of the most robust student judge programs in the country. Through this program, 2,000 high school juniors and seniors from over 50 schools learn about the voting process and serve as election judges at polling places across the city on Election Day.

If you are a Chicago teacher or a student looking for information on the current elections, please visit our student judge page.

When Illinois first allowed high school students to serve as election judges a decade ago, the Chicago Board of Election cautiously hired 100 students for that first election in March of 2000.  Today, because of the outstanding commitment, and tireless effort of the Mikva Challenge, the Chicago Board of Elections enthusiastically hires more than 2,000 high school students at every election to staff our polling places. Thanks to our partnership with Mikva Challenge, thousands of students experience a hands-on civics lesson.Langdon Neal, Chicago Board of Elections.

Mikva DC also places students as poll workers on election day. For more information about the DC program, contact Mikva DC program director, Justine Hipsky at

Youth in this program:
  • SERVE as election judges in polling places
  • CAMPAIGN for candidates competing in elections
  • INTERN in the offices of elected officials.

I can make a difference. Before it always seemed like I was powerless in government, but canvassing and talking to citizens showed me that I do have power to change things.
– CPS school junior.

Noteworthy Achievements:

  •  Almost 2000 students serve as election judges each year.
  • 50% of alumni of our elections program continue to volunteer for political campaigns, vs. 2% of 18-29 year-olds nationwide.
  • Mikva’s Elections in Action Curriculum is being used by 700 teachers in 47 states

To learn more about this program, please contact Meghan Goldenstein.


of Mikva alumni encourage their friends and family to be politically engaged, vs. only 35% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


of Mikva alumni are registered voters, vs. only 53% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


of Mikva alumni continue to volunteer in their communities, vs. only 36% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs across the country.


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season


young people served in the Chicagoland area, California and Washington DC


students from 117 schools nationwide presented speeches and/or worked on civic action projects

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